disease affects the periodontium (the supporting structures of the teeth).
The cause of this disease is multifactorial, but the presence of bacteria
in plaque certainly plays a major role. The supporting periodontal structures
begin to breakdown. This can mean that part of the bone that supports
the teeth or the ligaments that hold the teeth securely in place are
destroyed. This disease process is generally not reversible and may
require treatment from a dental professional specializing in periodontal
disease. Periodontal disease can develop as a result of poor daily plaque
control (e.g. brushing and flossing). However, not everyone with poor
brushing and flossing techniques will develop this condition. It is
wise to visit your dental hygienist or dentist regularly in order to
detect early stages of the disease and to prevent further damage.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is the destruction
of the tooth enamel, dentin, cementum and may involve the tooth pulp.
How does a Cavity Form?
The formation of a
cavity is due to many factors. For example, the tooth itself plays
a role (how strong it is); the mouths ability to cleanse itself (your
flow of saliva); diet (frequency and selection of sugary foods); the
bacteria in your mouth (good or bad); and the length of time the tooth
is under attack by the bacteria in your mouth.
Heredity: may play a major role in
how susceptible you are to the formation of a cavity, for example:
- tooth structure,
size and shape of the tooth may be passed down through generations.
This includes deep pits and grooves which are ideal "plaque traps",
and therefore, are susceptible to decay
- there may be a higher
risk of cavities forming if your parents also had a large number
- teeth that are malpositioned
in the mouth, that are hard to access with your toothbrush or floss
may also provide an ideal breeding ground for the bacterial dental
- the absence of fluoride
during tooth formation and following tooth eruption can increase
the incidence of cavities. fluoride promotes strong tooth development
and remineralization of the tooth
Saliva: has a protective function in the mouth, for example:
- a good flow of saliva
washes away food and bacteria that sit on the teeth and gum tissues
- salivary flow helps
to neutralize the acids produced by bacteria from plaque, thus a
good flow helps reduce the chances of a cavity formation
Diet: a well balanced diet from each of the four major food groups
is essential for your oral health, as well as, your overall health.
- avoid frequent consumption
of high sugar foods, especially sticky foods
- the longer the time
the food stays on your teeth, the greater the chance of forming
a cavity. If you do have a sugary snack, it's best to brush your
teeth soon after
- select between meal
snacks that are low in sugar concentrations such as white milk,
fresh fruits, raw vegetables, dark breads and whole grain and enriched
- sugar free candies,
gum and other snacks are an option
Time: the actual amount of sugar eaten in one sitting is not as important
as when and how often you choose a sugar containing food.
- the consumption
of high sugar foods is best if eaten with a regular meal. This will
confine the sugar exposure to one sitting. It's best to eat the
whole chocolate bar at once instead of at different periods throughout
Bacteria: the mouth harbors many
types of bacteria that are considered to be normal in the human mouth.
- bacteria, in a healthy
mouth tends to live in balance, but for reasons yet to be truly
identified, that balance can be tilted and oral disease may result
provides many benefits. It is found in many products such as toothpaste,
mouthrinse, fluoridated drinking water and periodic topical fluoride
treatments applied by your dental professional.
- it aids in the development
of sound enamel
- it helps reduce
enamel solubility and increases enamel resistance to acid attack
- it prevents demineralization
(the white spot phase of the beginning stages of a cavity)
- it enhances remineralization
of beginning stages of a cavity. Fluoride may arrest further development
of a cavity by depositing the fluoride mineral called fluoroapatite
Fluoride used in addition
to daily brushing and flossing helps to reduce the chances of a cavity.
Signs of a Cavity Formation
The first sign of a
cavity forming may be a white spot, which in time may turn brown.
If it is a white spot,
low concentrations of fluoride applied frequently can arrest further
White spot phase
If the white spot phase
progresses, further breakdown of enamel will occur. At this point,
a visit to your dental professional is necessary. The cavity may be
restored with a filling.
Breakdown of enamel
between the teeth
Good Habits to Help
- regular visits with
your dental professional on an appointment schedule that he/she
recommends based on your own needs. Regular visits will ensure you
have the benefits of preventive care and early diagnosis, as well
as, treatment for any dental problems. Guidance about home dental
care can also be provided to avoid future problems
- diet plays an important
role. Minimize the frequency of sugary foods, thus reducing the
amount of acid produced. Select snacks
that are less cavity causing, such as fresh fruit, plain yogurt
and raw vegetables
- the use of fluoride
will help decrease the risk of cavity formation
- good plaque control.
Maintain a strict and regular home care routine to minimize plaque
- it is recommended
that you consult wit Dr Talcott before using any commercial products.
You want to make a selection based on the effectiveness of the product
and your own personal needs
A Healthy Mouth Enhances